10 races to watch in Monday’s municipal election across Ontario

Municipal elections are taking place across Ontario on Monday. Here are 10 mayoral races to watch:


Former NDP leader Andrea Horwath is trying to start a new chapter in her political career by going back to where she started. Horwath, who served three terms on Hamilton City Council beginning in 1997, is running for mayor of that city. Her candidacy comes after she resigned as provincial leader of the NDP earlier this year, following four elections for the leadership of the party. During this time, the NDP gained official opposition status, but failed to form the government. Horwath faces eight other candidates, including Bob Bratina, who was formerly mayor and MP for Hamilton.

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Steven Del Duca seeks a political comeback at the municipal level. The former Ontario Liberal cabinet minister became the party’s leader in 2020 and tried to pull it out of the political wilderness, although in this year’s provincial election he only won one seat more than in 2018 _ still not enough for official party status in the Legislative Assembly. Del Duca resigned after the defeat and tries his hand at municipal politics. He is running for mayor against six other candidates, including Sandra Yeung Racco, who served five terms on the Vaughan City Council.

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Unlike Hamilton and Vaughan, Brampton’s current mayor is running as an incumbent, though it could still prove to be an interesting run. Patrick Brown first won the mayoral job in 2018 after stepping down as leader of the provincial Progressive Conservatives amid allegations of sexual misconduct which he denies. But his tenure as mayor was also rocky, with allegations of financial and contractual irregularities and a council sharply divided by pro and anti-Brown allegiances. His main competitor appears to be Nikki Kaur, a former city employee who came forward with unverified allegations as a whistleblower against senior city officials. She has a team of political heavyweights working for her, hoping to defeat Brown.

Click to play video: “Brampton mayoral race heats up”

Brampton mayoral race heats up


Jim Watson is no longer running, so the mayoral race is an open contest in Ottawa. There are 14 candidates, but the main names are City Councilor Catherine McKenney, former journalist Mark Sutcliffe and former provincial cabinet minister and former Ottawa mayor Bob Chiarelli. McKenney and Sutcliffe have won high profile endorsements and polls suggest the race will come down to them, although several surveys have McKenney in the lead. The province recently granted « strong mayor » powers to Toronto and Ottawa in a bid to get more housing built quickly, but McKenney and Sutcliffe said they are not interested in the veto to override the council.

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The most populous city in the country has 31 people on the mayoral ballot, although the incumbent is expected to win. John Tory is seeking a third term and polls suggest he is well ahead of the next closest challenger, Gil Penalosa. Penalosa’s campaign addressed parks and public spaces, road safety and affordable housing, among other topics. Tory has also pledged to fight housing affordability and, unlike Ottawa mayoral candidates, said he supports strong mayoral powers to get more housing built.

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Thunder Bay

Ken Boshcoff previously served as mayor of this northern Ontario town from 1997 to 2003 and is up for the job again. He also served as the Liberal MP for Thunder Bay-Rainy River from 2004 to 2008 and was re-elected in Thunder Bay in 2010 as General Councillor. Boshcoff made an unsuccessful bid for mayor in 2014, when he lost to the incumbent. This time, he faces four other candidates, including Peng You, current general councilor of the city. Thunder Bay’s next mayor will face a host of serious issues, including an opioid addiction crisis and calls for police reforms to improve the relationship with Indigenous residents.

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Mayor Ed Holder, the latest in a string of one-term city leaders from southwestern Ontario, is no longer running, leaving a race open for the city’s top job. Josh Morgan, a councilor since 2014 and deputy mayor since 2020, and Khalil Ramal, a former member of provincial parliament for London-Fanshawe, face eight other contenders. Both Morgan and Ramal cite housing affordability as a major issue in their platforms.

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Incumbent Mayor Trevor Birtch is running again despite criminal charges. The London Free Press reported that Birtch faces six sexual assault charges involving two women and until recent appearances in the debate he did not appear to be actively campaigning, although he wants to keep his job. CTV London reported that during a recent debate he briefly addressed the allegations, saying they were in court and members of the public were encouraging him to pursue his re-election bid.

Port Colborne

It’s Steele versus Steele in Port Colborne, as incumbent Mayor Bill Steele’s only challenger is his brother, Charles Steele. The latter Steele has said in interviews that he and his brother haven’t spoken in decades, and he put his name on the ballot so his brother wouldn’t run unopposed.

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This Greater Toronto Area municipality is believed to be home to the longest-serving mayor in the country. And he runs again. Gord Krantz is seeking his 14th term as mayor of one of Canada’s fastest growing municipalities. Krantz has three challengers, although they are likely to knock him down, as he garnered 82% of the vote in 2018.

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